Solar Schoolhouse program & collaborations with Utility partners.
[March 10, 2022] An Introduction to the Solar Schoolhouse Program and collaborating with utility partners
This past weekend on a guided tour of Bay Area marshlands, I asked the environmental science (with focus on energy) college student tour guide if she recalled any lessons or discussion about energy and renewable energy in her k12 experience. She said no. This conversation reminded me of the primary reason we work with k12 schools – improving energy literacy.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve approached energy literacy through the shiny subject of solar energy, exploring the many different ways we can capture the sun’s energy to heat, cool, and power our lives. Students make solar ovens, design and build passive solar homes, and create kinetic sculptures powered by photovoltaics. Solar energy catches their attention and then we can layer in additional related energy topics.
In the past few years, as the impacts of Climate Change reach us all, we’ve broadened our scope to include Ecovillages, Carbon Conversations, and solutions-journalism, to allow students to explore a wider variety of multi-solving paths to shaping a clean energy future. Currently, we’re piloting with 11 teachers in SoCal an Ecovillage project for 3rd graders. The lesson ties together their existing curriculum about community and citizenship, as well as math, science and language arts. Through this project, students (and teachers) are getting an introduction to some of the electrification & decarbonization strategies that many of you are introducing to your customers.
We’ve learned that energy is not just a science lesson, and are working with teachers to integrate existing classroom curriculum (social studies, math, science, language arts, art) with one or more projects. This makes for a richer student experience and builds a stronger community connection in the process.
The past 10 years we’ve had the privilege of work with Glendale Water & Power to provide energy education activities to teachers, students, and the community in Glendale. The partnership with GWP has allowed us to try new and innovative approaches. We’ve provide classroom curriculum materials together with professional development workshops for educators. The annual Solar Discovery Faire has become popular space for the larger community to learn and experience about solar energy through hands-on activities. We’ve hosted community workshops where families build solar chargers for their emergency preparedness supplies. During the pandemic, we’ve sent students hands-on solar projects for a bit of fun in an otherwise challenging time.
As you develop plans for the new fiscal year, consider partnering with The Rahus Institute (Solar Schoolhouse) to help increase energy literacy in your local schools. We have a current MPSA agreement that allows SCPPA and NCPA members ease of contracting.
In the past 20 years, we’ve worked with many of your organizations on various projects. We’re excited to get reacquainted, work with schools in your community, and collaborate on shaping a clean energy future. Check out the video above and contact me to start a conversation.
Rahus Institute & Solar Schoolhouse
Contact Tor Allen 707-829-3154 or email@example.com to discuss collaboration in your community.
Links to videos show in this presentation.
Solar Discovery Faire (Glendale)
2021 Solar Whirlygig project at local Elementary School
SCPPA and NCPA members can utilize MPSA for ease in contracting.